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Information about Adequate Yearly Progress and standardized tests

9/6/2013

Some families did not receive a letter from Rockford Public Schools in time to attend an Aug. 26 informational meeting about Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and standardized test results. We apologize for the delay.

The meeting last month was simply an informational session so parents could learn more about the test and what AYP means for you and your school. No immediate action is necessary. 

You will receive another letter about your options for Supplemental Educational Services (SES), or free tutoring programs, offered based on income and a student’s need. A Supplemental Educational Services vendor fair is scheduled for 4:30-7:30 p.m. October 23 at Ellis Elementary School. You’re encouraged to attend at that time to learn more about after-school tutoring options for your child.

Thank you. We apologize for the delay and any misunderstandings.

​Here are some frequently asked questions about Illinois standardized test results and your school’s overall performance. We’d like to help you understand what the results mean for you and your child. For more information, please contact the Improvement and Innovation Department at 815-489-7213.

Frequently asked questions about Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)

Why am I getting this letter? The state requires schools to explain to parents their annual test scores and what they’re doing to better their scores, plus provide options for families to help their students improve.

What does a school’s rating mean to me and my child? The rating means the district must provide additional resources, such as tutoring, reading support or additional tests for students to better measure their growth. Or for staff, it could be professional development. But the important thing to focus on is your child and his or her teachers. Do you have a good relationship with your child’s teacher? Does your child bring home relevant homework? Is your child improving throughout the school year?

Is my school the only one struggling with the state’s standards? No. In fact, most schools aren’t keeping up with the rigorous pace. The federal No Child Left Behind Act, or NCLB, in 2001 outlined requirements that each public school and district would be measured by annual achievement targets. Those targets started low and grew each year. By 2014, the goal was to have 100 percent of students tested meeting or exceeding standards on the test. Last year across the state, only about 34 percent of schools met those lofty achievement goals. The federal government is reexamining its expectations for student achievement.

What does missing the “proficiency target” mean? Missing that target does not mean the school is a bad school – it also does not mean its staff or students aren’t proficient. It means the school’s students, as a whole, aren’t keeping pace with the rigorous standards set by the state test under NCLB.

What happens once the new standards are implemented? Elementary students this spring will continue to be tested on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test, or ISAT. This test will better measure students’ college and career readiness. The former test was a snapshot in time and did not measure growth throughout the academic year. High school juniors will take the Prairie State Achievement Exam, or PSAE.

​Where can I learn more? Talk with your principal about his or her School Improvement Plan, which outlines ways to increase all students’ achievement levels.